Being a romance reader from your late teens, what do you enjoy the most about reading romance books?
My mom was an avid reader and kept thick romance novels lying around the house at all times She and her friends would swap bags of books. I was initially drawn to the covers. My mom loved historical, so picture the long-haired pirate, English Duke, or handsome, Native American with a beautiful woman clutching his leg or in his arms. Once, I picked one up and read it, I realized there was an escape into other worlds I knew nothing about, with adventure and passionate romance. I did not know this at the time, but historical romance takes research. Add a happily-ever-after ending, and I was hooked. Even though I write paranormal, historical is still my default romance genre when I need a break.
Which is your favorite memory from your time in Miami University?
College is not easy. I went back to college after diagnosed with Guillain-Barre and with a young family. My favorite memory would be my English professors and their classes. Several times they approached me and said something like, “Hey, you can really write. Ever consider a career in writing?” I did not give the suggestion much thought at the time, but wish I had.
Why did you choose the romance genre? Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I chose the romance genre because I love to fall in love. I chose paranormal because I am in control of the worlds and characters I create. I don’t like research..lol. The first complete story I ever wrote was “The Rings of Faolan-Emeralds.” I have written songs and poems all my life.
At what age did you begin collecting coins? What are the best resources for coin collectors?
I started collecting coins three years ago. When I was a child, my Grandfather gave me a silver dollar every time I went to visit. He’d put them in a book then let me play with it. I wish I still had that collection, but my Father cashed them in many years ago after my parents divorced. I’ve always loved the texture of a coin between my fingers. I started collecting with state quarter maps then quickly evolved to bicentennial Washington quarters, half dollars, and silver dollars. My all-time favorite is the Morgan silver dollar. They are expensive, and I only purchase one per year, but I adore those coins. I use the internet and articles published by other collectors as my resource for mints, values, and what to look for. I’m still learning, but hope to have a significant collection one day.
How important do you think it is to strike a work-life and personal-life balance?
I have a very driven personality, so when I start a book, I usually go hard until it’s completed. After five books, I found myself needing a break, so I took it. It’s extremely important to strike a balance between your personal life and work life. I am the worst author in the world for finding that balance, but I’m learning to listen to the signs. My editor told me to keep a journal where I write all my ideas down, so when I’m ready, I can start one. The journal keeps me from feeling “panicked” to write that book.
How was your experience of writing "Shades of Darkness" with other authors?
“Shades of Darkness” is actually a sampler book. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, wanted to give readers a way to experience several paranormal author styles in one collection. The authors who participated submitted a chapter from a book they wanted to feature, and the publisher put it all together. Pretty nifty idea!
How would you describe the relationship between Michael Faolan and Natalie Terrence in "The Rings of Faolan-Rubies"?
I would describe Michael and Natalie’s relationship as simmering passion. They both knew they belong together, but both don’t want to push too hard. Michael is an alpha Lycan, so his first instinct is to take what he wants. Natalie is an alpha herself, but because of past events, it takes Michael’s patient coaxing to bring out the beast in the woman so to say. I love their relationship. Unquenched passion mixed with danger makes a great read.
Who inspired the character of Leon in "The Burn"? What challenges did you face to write the character of an angel cursed to exist as a vampire?
I developed the idea for Leon in “The Burn,” while sitting in church listening to my pastor preach on angels. When my pastor touched on Satan and his fallen angels, my imagination went wild. It wasn’t a long stretch to go from fallen angel to cursed vampire in my mind. My biggest challeng was coming up with a way of redemption for my vampire. “The Burn,” is ultimately a paranormal romance, so I used woman as the vampire’s salvation. Another challenge with Leon is establishing a timeline. Leon is immortal, and a fallen angel, so he’s been around since the angels were cast from heaven. Leon’s mate, or Shana, is half angel, so she’s been around for a while as well. The facts and descriptions I used had to match the period each character was in during a scene. As you know, I hate research (LOL), but this story was worth it. The book is written a little different, but my editor loved it, and I loved it, so I hope most of my readers love it as well.
Who was someone you looked up to a lot as a child? Who are some of the biggest influences or inspirations as an author now?
The single person I looked up to most as a child had to be my Aunt Louise Campbell. She was a social worker, but called herself a baby snatcher, and the single mother of two. Not only did she work full time while raising two children, she also cared for my Grandmother; however, she alway found time for a troubled niece. I spent many hours sitting on the front porch with Aunt Louise. She listened, but never judged. She gave advice, but never pushed. She is deceased now, but I often think of her. Louise spent her entire life dedicated to helping others. Only as a grown woman, do I appreciate and understand those qualities.
The biggest influence on my writing career is Author Christine Feehan. I adore her books and look forward to each new release. Not only is she a great author, she is a fantastic role model for the author community. If you get some time, take a moment to read some of her interviews or one of her books. You might be surprised!
What were your goals with the book "Hand-Carved Wolf"? Do you think you achieved them?
First of all, “Hand-Carved Wolf,” is my favorite book, I’ve written, because of the humor. I wanted to bring the beauty of the Native American culture without delving into politics. I am a romance writer first and foremost. There are people who have devoted their entire lives to different tribes, and I am not one of those people. This book focuses on the romance between a widower and a widow.
Shade, the male lead character, just happens to be Native American. Of course, I had to throw in a ghost! LOL I do think I achieved my goals with this book by avoiding politics, and focusing on Shade and Lacey’s love story.
How do you usually get new ideas for your books? Do you use any tricks to get "in the zone" and get your creative juices flowing?
Ideas for books come from everywhere. I can be on vacation, at the grocery store, or watching a television program, and develop an idea.
Since I write paranormal, I prefer to write at night. It seems right to me. The world is asleep and wicked things wake. I love music, so if I’m writing an intimate scene, I will turn on something sultry with a good beat. My husband is the ultimate romantic, so I use things he’s done for me as well. Memories evoke a certain mood which is great for different scenes.
How do you feel about the shift of readers from physical books to digital ones?
The shift of readers from physical books to digital ones does not bother me. I actually think the digital choice fits with today’s busy lifestyle. I use both my phone and my tablet to read. The choices are endless and with the tap of my finger, the book downloads onto my device, and the devices are easily portable. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate my local bookstores. When I have time, I go. There is nothing like the scent or feel of a book in your hands. It’s good to have options!
How did you begin writing "The Red Heart Club" series? When can we expect the next book in the series?
With the rise in popularity of the novella, my publisher put out the call for short erotic. I had never attempted erotic or that short of a book. One thing I love is a challenge, so I wrote “The Red Heart,” not expecting it to be picked up, but with the help of my fantastic editor, a contract was offered. The second book is completed and going through final edits. It should be out in the next few months.
What does literary success look like to you? Do you think you have achieved it?
I suppose “being published” is its own literary success; however, in today’s saturated market, I find myself thinking I’ve failed. Every author dreams of hitting number one on the charts, but the dream seems more and more out of reach. The amount of marketing today’s author must do is overwhelming and expensive. Trying to stand out in that market is tough. Reviews are another problem altogether. I read another author’s work and think, “I need to grow as a writer.” There is a self-imposed, insane amount of pressure to improve and succeed. I want that for myself. I am proud of what I have achieved so far but feel there is a long way to go. To answer your question, “No, I do not think I’ve achieved literary success.” Maybe that’s my over-achiever personality triumphing over common sense, but it’s the most honest answer I can give.
Could you quickly review AllAuthor and tell us what you think? What are some things you like or dislike about this website?
So far, I have no complaints about the AllAuthor site. It would be nice if the fee was for life, but business is business..lol. I think AllAuthor is a fantastic platform where I can reach readers. The site works well, it’s affordable, and looks phenomenal. The marketing you do for one book allows the author more time to market their others, but it would be nice if we could switch books every 3-6 months. This interview itself, is an awesome addition. Publishers encourage author interviews, but when they’re done within the same bubble of authors, are we really reaching new readers? Kudos for the author interview!